The day that Sparky died...
I'll remember this about the day that Sparky died...the sun was shining almost up until the moment I heard the news. My good friend, Coop, had left a message for me, and I felt that immediate flat sadness, like a bare palm to the cheek, the way that bad news often hits you. I quickly thought of my Grandmother, whom I only ever heard say more affectionate things about her husband than she did both Sparky and her favorite, Cito Gaston. I thought about my friend Adam, and my friend Aimee...the two biggest Tigers fans I know. I remembered Ernie, and losing him just a few short months ago, and the surprising sense of loss that followed. I remembered sitting in the sun high up in the bleachers watching Sparky's boys, 'cause they were always Sparky's boys, all those amazing summers growing up. There were times that my attention wandered so far as to leave me drifting across the centerline as I drove from one appointment to another. I thought about how I always wanted to attend one of Sparky's autograph sessions whenever he came back to Detroit but how I just never bothered to. It was Sparky. Sparky was going to live forever. Nope, no one does.
Then I thought about June's Uncle Art, who passed away unexpectedly this week, and a little bit of June's big heart fractured off. She loved her Uncle Art a lot more than she ever found the opportunity to say or share. Just last week June's father, Gerry, found himself hospitalized with an unexpected surgery and frightened everyone from Mihoko (the world's greatest downplayer of significant events) to June, and anyone else who knows how hesitant Gerry is to lay down before a doctor. June didn't say as much but I know that her head and heart were wandering through foreign feelings all weekend, a weekend in which I was away and half out of reach. She fell asleep on those nights laying next to those frightening feelings and not the insufferable warmth of her husband. Then just yesterday we learned of my Uncle Larry's near fatal brush with his own mortality after three of his heart's four valves decided that they were going to file a union grievance against the rest of his retired body. Why did they have to keep working when everyone else was on a long, hard earned vacation? I love my Uncle Larry like few other men in my life and so Sparky's quick exit from the landscape of my life reminded me how fast this planet spins. No doubt that my time on Bruno Street in Los Angeles framed my perspective on love and loss in a fairly synchronicitous (my story, my word) way, but it was Sparky and the shock of today's loss that pulled all of those other things into focus.
Life is short. Wear your heart smack dab in the middle of your sleeve, or prepare yourself to regret it later. I don't want to regret anything.